Several people displaced, businesses damaged after fire in Spencer, IA

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:15 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Investigators in Spencer, Iowa are trying to find out what sparked a fire that damaged businesses and apartments Sunday afternoon.

Authorities say a woman called 911 around 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 and reported she had come home to find a lot of smoke in her apartment on the 200 block of Spencer’s Grand Avenue.

Firefighters evacuated everyone in the building and three people had to be taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Eventually, the roof of the apartment collapsed.

The building that caught fire on Grand Avenue featured five businesses on the ground floor and then eight apartments on the top floor. In those apartments, there were six people that lived there that are now displaced.

“Yesterday was catastrophic I would say for people in the community,” said Anna Becker, who witnessed the fire.

Becker was working at Weasy’s Lounge & Grille across the street from the fire. She says said the community really came together following the fire.

“There were people in the community kind of coming in rallying around each other, and making sure everybody got out and asking questions,” said Becker. “Some of the people that were living up there came around here, and there were people comforting them and offering support.”

Spencer Fire Chief John Conyn said the Red Cross, Upper Des Moines Opportunity, and the Clay County, Iowa Relief Association are working together on a housing assistance plan for those who were displaced by the fire.

“At 8 o’clock this morning they all were in a group conference phone call, and they are proceeding with different housing packages available for them,” said Conyn.

Inspections will need to be done, but Conyn is hopeful that the businesses affected will be able to reopen.

“I do believe that they will have a strong opportunity to be re-businessed in that location, or at least that is what I hope,” said Conyn. “As far as impact, I think that the impact is felt throughout our community, and throughout the business owners on Main street or Grand Ave.”

The three people, who were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, have all been released as of Monday.

The Red Cross continues to help those who were displaced by the fire. There were ten occupied apartment units in that building. So far, the Red Cross has helped residents from 5 of those units.

There is no shelter set up for people affected, but the Red Cross says it’s working with residents on a case-by-case basis.

People who were impacted by the fire are encouraged to reach out to the Red Cross for help